Written by Colleen Chesebro

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry. Join us for #TankaTuesday! Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch. In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books. Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

October 18, 2021

Happy October! Welcome to a new Carrot Ranch #DoubleEnnead monthly poetry challenge. Every third Monday of the month, I’ll be here at the Saloon with another challenge to help get your poetic juices flowing. Each month, we will explore a different theme or image to inspire our poetry. Take your time, there’s no hurry! You have an entire month to write your poem.

HINT: You can find this post again by typing double ennead challenge in the search box to the right of the Carrot Ranch banner. That will bring up the most recent challenge post. ?

Check out the poems from last month HERE

The word Ennead means nine, and a double nine is ninety-nine! Carrot Ranch is famous for 99-word flash fiction. Now, the ranch has its own syllabic poetry form written in 99 syllables!

The Double Ennead comprises five lines with a syllable count of 6/5/11/6/5, (33 SYLLABLES per stanza) 3 STANZAS EACH = 99 SYLLABLES, NO MORE, NO LESS! Punctuation and rhyme schemes are optional and up to the poet.

We’ve been writing 99 syllable poetry for a few months now. Explore your own 99 syllable structure. In other words, you don’t have to abide by the syllable structure above. Just make sure that your poem comes out to 99 syllables! Have fun and experiment. I did!

Image by Bany_MM from Pixabay

October is my favorite month of the year! Halloween is just around the corner. As a child, I loved this holiday and still do today. I think the attraction was the opportunity to switch identities for one night a year. At Halloween, you could be anything you wanted simply by changing your appearance.

If you could assume any form or persona, what would you choose?

What is a Persona Poem?

Scott Sigil shares his definition: “A persona poem is a poem written in first person from the perspective of someone or something other than yourself. When writing a persona poem, the poet embodies a figure from history, or a fictional character, or even an inanimate object, and writes imagining what that person or thing might say if they had the chance to write a poem.” (Persona Poems by Scott Sigil)

Let’s celebrate Halloween together by writing a persona poem in the style of a double ennead. Be creative! Let your imagination run wild! Have fun!

My example follows:

"A Wise Woman's Companion"

the veil thins when dusk falls
Samhain spirits rise
now, the purveyors of death walk among us...
maybe crones in disguise?
black magic lives on

they burned us at the stake
not believing our truths, only lies
bad luck, or animal-shaped spies?
my coal-black color determined my death

my reputation's ruined
by superstitions,
ancient mythologies, and false statements...
My one redeeming feature—
black cats have nine lives!

© Colleen M. Chesebro

This month, write a double ennead poem where you assume a persona. It can be Halloween related, or not. Remember, your poem must have 99 syllables in total. Have fun!

  • Post your poem on your blog or in the comments if you don’t have a blog by Friday, November 12, 2021.
  • Include a link back to this challenge in your post. (copy the https:// address of this post into your post).
  • Read and comment on your fellow poet’s work. Feedback from other poets is how we grow our poetry writing craft.
  • Like and leave a comment below if you choose to do so.
  • I’ll visit, comment, and share your poetry on social media!

Chloe & Sophie assert that no black cats were harmed in the creation of this poem!

Now have fun and write some double ennead poetry!

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  1. robertawrites235681907

    This is a splendid challenge. It’s time for me to stop being lazy and give this a go. I have my idea already.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      That’s wonderful, Robbie. Have fun with your persona. ????????????

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      You’re welcome, Lady Lee. ????????????

  2. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Reblogged this on Colleen M. Chesebro and commented:

    Come celebrate Halloween at the Saloon on! Let’s write 99 syllable poetry together!

  3. RuthScribbles

    Rebecca Nurse (the first – I think – and eldest woman) to be burned is an ancestor of mine. Either a 9th great grandmother or a 10th great aunt.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Wow! I read they burned their cats with the suspected witches. That’s where I found that mythology about black cats. More witches were drowned than burned which is fascinating as well. <3

      • RuthScribbles

        I looked her up. (My 9th great grandmother.)

        I’ll have to look at that! my daughter has a beautiful black cat.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Ohhh! My Sophie is black with some tan markings. She’s a dark tortoiseshell. ??????????

      • RuthScribbles

        ohhh my daughter has a tortoise shell too, and one lives next door to us! ????

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I love their personalities. They’re always different. ????

  4. Norah

    What a fun challenge for October.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      It’s fun, isn’t it? I like working with personas and characters. It’s another great writing tool. ??????

  5. Jules

    OK… not a Double Ennead… and the second of a two part piece –
    But it is 99 syllables!

    For the whole she bang…Receding Confidence I & II

    Receding Confidence II (in 99 syllables)

    Diminishing copycat, bent on disappearing
    Losing voice with each dropping petal
    the refrain weakens
    the will struggling to fulfill expectations

    trapped in societal bonds,
    like pages in a closed book
    on a high shelf,
    forever unread

    ‘will’ only so strong
    soul sits alone
    attempts one last shout
    as a worthy advisory; the cry just fades away…

    false partner
    underrated soul
    sham Echo

    © JP/dh

    Note: “Echo, in Greek mythology, a mountain nymph, or oread. … To punish Echo, Hera deprived her of speech, except for the ability to repeat the last words of another. Echo’s hopeless love for Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image, made her fade away until all that was left of her was her voice.”

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      99 syllables works and this is fabulous, Jules. I love the Greek mythology! <3

  6. WildChild47

    Black cats get such a bad rap! honestly! the only downside to a black fur-baby (dog/cat) is darkness – as in, you lose them in the darkness – which maybe they enjoy, but I can say, isn’t too much fun! ???? oh well, all hail and praise for the Black Cats!

    Wonderful new challenge Colleen – thanks for hosting, and for the new ideas stirring up in the cauldron – I like your double ennead – it’s fun but interesting for the hinted history. Witches always get a bad rap too. Shame really, others’ closed/narrow minds.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Thanks, Wild Child. I love writing flash fiction and just like syllabic poetry it’s all about the brevity. It’s great fun and I’ve gotten to know many of the fine writers over here at Carrot Ranch in the last seven years. The double ennead was the poetic version (99-syllables) of the 99 word flash fiction Charli Mills is famous for. It’s great fun. I’m glad to see you here… and Yes! We witches and black cats get a bad rap! I’ll never understand it. LOL! <3

      • WildChild47

        I’m familiar with CR – long, long ago, I played the 99 flash 🙂 And you’re quite right – lots of fine writers in the stables/fields here. Always something interesting kicking up in the dust 😉
        Well I suppose I shall keep testing my syllables in the poet’s version, always up for a challenge, and since it’s one that offers ample time, it’s a good thing 🙂

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Excellent! I’m all for challenges that give us practice to perfect our Craft. ????

      • WildChild47


  7. Charli Mills

    Colleen, your poetic forms and added craft elements (persona, POV) are terrific practices for all writers. I’ll be back with my response. Thanks!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Have fun! This is such a great way to embrace our characters too. I can’t wait to see what you come up with, Charli. <3

  8. RuthScribbles

    oops. I better get busy.

  9. Colleen M. Chesebro

    You had me going with this one, Ruth! Well done. <3


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